The Nondescripts Cricket Club and Sinhalese Sports Club are adjacent to each other. While skipper Mahela Jayawardene plays for Sinhalese, who run the Test venue, Kumar Sangakkara leads Nondescripts.
Though neighbours, the clubs are like chalk and cheese. Sinhalese is an entirely commercial entity with a swanky club house while NCC prides itself on its old world charm and ethos.
“Most clubs here were established on ethnic lines. The SSC was formed by the Sinhalese, the Tamil Union by Tamils, Moors SC by Muslims, the Malay SC by Malaysians and Burgher SC by people of Dutch descent. Nondescripts means it is open to all races, creeds and nationalities,” says Indrajith Dissanayake, the NCC general manager.
The quaint campus and greenery contrasts with SSC. It has been untouched by commercialisation and the clean walls are a testimony to it. On the other hand, every piece of SSC seems to have a billboard on it. “We are not commercially driven, we don't seek advertisements. We have given only one strip to our team sponsor and that is painted on the pillar of the scoreboard,” says Dissanayake.
“You will find 12 security guards at their gate while we can afford just two. They have a state-of-the-art gym with seven top brand treadmills. We have one, and that too is broken,” quips another member. One area where they match SSC is on the team list, which includes Lasith Malinga, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal and Chamara Kupugedra.